In 26 words – two of them hyphenated compounds – I can sum up the newest Land Rover Discovery, the replacement for the tired, old LR4: three-row AND tailgate seating; 21 storage holds; smartphone control; fat tow ratings and lots of torque; off-road muscle; and most important of all, a curry hook.
I know all this because I just finished with the diesel version of this reinvented Discovery, the one that starts at $65,900, but like a SpaceX rocket, quickly climbs into the pricing stratosphere as you add extras. My HSE Luxury tester, before add-ons, fees and taxes price, came in at $77,000.
Add in my tester’s long, long list of goodies and this rig ran into 100 grand-ish territory. Things like Farallon black paint ($1,800); rear seat entertainment ($2,000); all sorts of additional performance and safety technologies (many thousands); and more. Safe to say, the back of my envelope ran out of space for numbers.
Now there is also a supercharged gasoline version, base price $63,900. But I would, of course, go with the diesel if I were buying.
Diesel makes the most sense for a rig that can tow a small house (3,500 kg with the optional $650 tow package) and weighs by itself 2,230 kg despite the aluminum body and other engineering work that stripped out several hundred kg. Both versions share a ZF eight-speed gearbox.
Heft does not slow down this reimagined, reinvented and repositioned Discovery, however. The 0-100 km/hour time comes in at 8.1 seconds and autobahn users will be pleased with the 209 km/hour top speed.
That’s a lot of zoom for a tall rig that, despite some very pleasant styling flourishes, is really a big brick designed to maximize cargo and passenger room, while being capable of climbing and descending rugged trails in the Andes. I mention the Andes because a few years ago, I spent a week there in an older version of the Discovery. Unstoppable.
Really, there is no questioning the authenticity of the 2018 Discovery. A Porsche 911 Carrera comes track ready, while a Land Rover Discovery comes Andes ready. Luxurious bushwhacking for seven. Yes, even six-footers can sit back there in the third-row, heated-seat space. Barely, but it’s possible.
And this would be my choice over the latest versions of the Mercedes-Benz GL, BMW’s X5, Audi’s Q7, the Infiniti QX80, the Lexus LX 570 – despite Land Rover’s well-documented quality troubles. The Discovery looks bolder and boasts more impressive bonafides for your next Botswana safari.
Now parking it in a downtown underground is another story entirely. I just barely crept into my high-rise’s garage and then filled up my parking space entirely. Not ideal for city dwellers.
That said, the Discovery is stuffed with electronic and luxury features, safety equipment, convenience do-dads and comfort items. The seats are spectacularly comfortable and, apparently, you can use your smartphone to configure them – or use the touchscreen or even buttons in the rear cargo area. The second and third rows fold flat, electronically and the sliding second-row seats optimize functionality.
Storage and convenience? Note the hideaway beneath the cup holders in the center console that can hold four iPads. A compartment behind the climate control panel secrets away a wallet or phone. At the rear, a one-piece composite folds down for tailgate seating.
If you perhaps tow a boat, you no longer need to worry about being embarrassed on the launch ramp. Something called Advanced Tow Assist lets you steer backwards using the rotary knob from the Terrain Response 2 system. Just follow the touchscreen.
Thanks to the immense torque of the diesel (443 lb-ft), the Discovery leaps away from a stop. Nice for the on-road bits and cornering is shockingly stable and controlled. Off-road, the optional All-Terrain Progress Control feature ($1,200 with the Capability Plus Pack), delivers what boils down to crawl-mode cruise control for nasty off-roading.
Finally, the curry hook. This Discovery has a push-operated bag hook that when not used sits flush to the transmission tunnel. You will grow to love it.
Seems with this latest Discovery, Land Rover tried to think of absolutely everything and, of course, you’ll pay for all of it.
2018 Land Rover Discovery HSE Luxury Td6
Base price: $77,000. Delivery: $1,600
Power: 3.0-litre turbocharged diesel (254 hp/443 lb-ft torque).
Transmission: eight-speed automatic.
Fuel economy (litre/100 km): 11.2 city, 9.1 highway, using diesel fuel.
Comparables: Mercedes-Benz GL, BMW’s X5, Audi’s Q7, the Infiniti QX80, the Lexus LX 570.